August 16, 2021
To respond to the business impacts of COVID-19 and maintain a proactive economic development program, the Red River Regional Council (RRRC) and collaborative economic development partners recently launched a regional Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) Program. A BR+E program focuses on the survival and growth of existing businesses. Visits with Grand Forks County and Pembina County businesses are under way.
An estimated 40-80% of new growth comes from existing businesses – businesses that have already invested substantial resources into the community.
“COVID has presented an array of business challenges including safety, temporary closures, facility changes, furloughed staff, supply chain disruptions, new equipment purchases and more,” said Dawn Mandt, RRRC Executive Director. “Our goal is to identify and assist with individual needs, opportunities and economic trends that may need to be addressed.”
The BR+E begins with one-on-one hourlong interviews with business management and owners. The types of businesses to be interviewed include manufacturing and food processing companies, healthcare, food services, retail, personal and professional services, and hospitality. It is estimated these categories represent approximately 35% of the businesses in the region. The interviews will be held confidential while the data will be aggregated to identify possible trends within communities, counties or region.
BR+E interviews have already been completed with ag processing and manufacturing companies in Pembina and Walsh counties. Interviews with the remaining categories of businesses are complete in Walsh County and Nelson County. More information can be found by contacting Jacob Schmuck, Jake Wiensch, or Dawn Mandt at 701-352-3550.
Region 4 includes Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh Counties. The program will focus on the areas of the region outside the City of Grand Forks at this time. This project has been undertaken in response to COVID-19 and with financial support from the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
Collaborative partners include economic development organizations in Region 4 including: Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh County Job Development Authorities; Grafton, Northwood, and Park River Economic Development Committees; Grand Forks Region EDC; Minnkota Power Cooperative; Job Service North Dakota; Grafton and Cavalier Chambers of Commerce; and North Valley Career and Technology Center.